Tuesday, December 3, 2013

RLPB 239. India: terror and impunity in hostile Rajasthan

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 239 | Wed 04 Dec 2013

INDIA: TERROR AND IMPUNITY IN HOSTILE RAJASTHAN
plus UPDATE on CAR and the LRA
By Elizabeth Kendal

Hindu zeal is no doubt soaring in the desert state of Rajasthan. There is a general election looming (April-May 2014), as well as State Assembly elections just held on Sunday 1 December. [Votes will be counted on 8 December.]  Whilst Rajasthan is presently ruled by the Congress Party, there is a strong sense that the people are hankering for change. Around 74 percent of those eligible cast their vote. Rabid Hindu nationalist and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidential candidate Nahendra Modi -- who is proving to be extremely popular with youths -- campaigned in Rajasthan through mid-November. Many analysts are predicting that the BJP could ride back into power in Rajasthan on the back of the 'Modi wave'. India's population is around 80 percent Hindu and officially 2.3 percent Christian, though unofficially from 4 percent to 9 percent. However, in Rajasthan  Hindus comprise 89 percent of the population while Christians make up only some 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent. According to Operation World 7th Edition (2010) there has been significant church growth in the south of Rajasthan since the turn of the century. In 2008, when the BJP ruled Rajasthan, the Assembly passed a draconian, highly controversial anti-conversion bill designed to 'check rampant religious conversion'.

Harish Gemethi lives in Gamdi village, Dungarpur District, in the deep south of Rajasthan. In 2003 Harish and 45 others put their faith in Jesus after witnessing the miraculous healing of Harish's older brother. Anti-Christian sentiment is strong in the area and the believers know what it is to 'carry a cross'. Harish told Morning Star News that during the last 10 years certain local Hindus have repeatedly threatened to harm or even kill his family. The most recent death threat came in early November.

Harish and his wife have a seven-year-old son, Anugrag Gemethi (pictured right in Sunday School at the Believers Church in Gamdi.  Photo courtesy Morning Star News.)  At 10am on Sunday 17 November, Anugrag (nicknamed Anmol) waved goodbye to his parents and skipped off to Sunday School. After the Sunday service, Anugrag had lunch at the home of Christian friends in the neighbouring village of Tadi Obri, after which he headed home. Anugrag's friends waved him goodbye as he crossed the little bridge that joins their two villages, but Anugrag did not arrive home. By dinner time his parents had become anxious and phone calls and searches yielded nothing. The next morning, Harish went to the police station and filed a missing person's report. At 4:30pm, family and friends found Anugrag's mutilated body in a pond. Local police were called but took two-and-a-half hours to arrive.

Anugrag had either been brutally tortured to death, or killed and sadistically mutilated. There is little doubt that Anugrag's death was designed to terrorise and traumatise not only his parents, but all local Christians. Despite having been burnt, dismembered and disfigured to the point he was unrecognisable, the police autopsy reported that Anugrag died from drowning and that apart from animal bites, the body was 'normal'. [For details see Morning Star News.] Clearly the police do not want to intervene.

Harish told Morning Star News: 'I have repeatedly mentioned the names of these people who constantly threatened to take my life and my family in connection to my son's death to the police, but sadly they are not paying heed to my suggestions.' The Christian community is deeply concerned by the reluctance of the police to act. If Hindu nationalists find they can torture, kill and terrorise local Christians with impunity, then security will evaporate.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT --

* the God who miraculously healed Harish Gemethi's brother in 2003 -- resulting in significant church growth in Gamdi and Tadi Obri villages -- will now do a miraculous work in the hearts of Gamdi's and Tadi Obri's persecuted Christians, comforting them in their grief, healing their trauma, calming their fears, sustaining their faith and filling their hearts with amazing grace that will then spill out into their communities.

* God will open the eyes of many Hindus in Gamdi and Tadi Obri, so they see clearly the demonic nature of this evil and profoundly reject it; may the hearts of many Hindus be softened and opened to receive the gospel. May the killers lose their sanction and the police be forced to act.

* the God of all grace will continue to build his Church in India.

'But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!' (Amos 5:24 NIV)

SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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TERROR AND IMPUNITY IN HOSTILE RAJASTHAN, INDIA

Rajasthan, India, is hostile territory for Christians, who comprise less than half a percent of the state's population. Over the past decade the Church has seen significant growth in the south. Local Hindu resistance to church growth has resulted in toxic anti-Christian Hindu nationalist propaganda, creating a dangerous environment. In mid-November hostile Hindus kidnapped a young believer Anugrag Gemethi (7) on his way home from church. They brutally killed him, mutilating his body to send a message to local Christians who have long lived with intimidation and death threats. The police do not want to intervene. However, if the killers are treated with impunity, then security will evaporate as Hindu nationalist zeal is again on the rise. Please pray for India and its Church. 

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UPDATE on CAR and LRA  (upates to RLPB 238)

France has agreed to deploy 1000 troops to Central African Republic (CAR), not to fight Seleka but to act as 'policemen' to help bring order for the civilian population. This may help stem the sectarian violence and assist reconciliation. However, if international Islamic militants remain in CAR the threat will remain. Pray that God will open the door for peace and reconciliation, and close the door on Seleka (Revelation 3:7). Meanwhile, on 28 Nov, the Ugandan Army ambushed an LRA group in CAR, using intelligence supplied by US Special Forces. Amongst those killed was Kony's chief planner and number 4 in the LRA hierarchy, Col. Samuel Kangul. Pray that God will open the door for LRA defectors and close the door on the the LRA. Please persevere in prayer to turn back the battle.

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Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012)